Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Italian White Bean, Pancetta, and Tortellini Soup

Even with the warm weather finally upon us, I still can't resist stirring up a big, steamy pot of soup. I love to portion it for easy lunches and weekday dinners so that I never have to stress about having meals available. I first discovered this soup through Everyday Pasta and after a few tweaks (like reducing the amount of pancetta and swapping out the swiss chard), have personalized the recipe a bit.

You know that I'm not exactly a kitchen superstar, but luckily this is one of the easiest recipes to successfully complete. You start by doing some chopping...

...then saute your veggies and pancetta.

Stir in some broth and spinach...

...then cook your tortellini!

You're left with a piping bowl of tortellini soup that makes enough servings for a small dinner party or for you to store the leftovers for yourself. I love that all of the cooking takes place in one pot - much less to clean up!

Italian White Bean, Pancetta, and Tortellini Soup

Ingredients (for 6 servings)
* 3 tablespoons olive oil
* 2 oz. pancetta, chopped
* 3 shallots, chopped
* 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
* 3 garlic cloves, chopped
* 15 oz. cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
* 4 cups spinach, chopped
* 5 cups low sodium chicken broth
* 1 (9 oz.) package of fresh spinach tortellini (I used Trader Joe's)
* Salt and pepper to taste
* Optional garnish: Cheese sticks

1) Head the olive oil in a large soup pot and saute the pancetta, shallots, carrots, and garlic over medium-heat until the pancetta is crispy (approximately 5 minutes).

2) Stir in the beans, spinach, and chicken broth. Bring the soup to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. 

3) Add the tortellini and cook for approximately 8 minutes.

4) Season with salt and pepper, and serve with cheese sticks.

I seriously eat this soup all the time (in fact, there is only one serving left in my fridge...looks like I'll be making a trip to the grocery store pretty soon).

Which easy recipe is your favorite to have quick meals handy?


Linking up with KateEmily, Alesha, Mary, and Amanda!

Friday, April 25, 2014

Five on Friday {April 25, 2014}

Can you believe that we're already at our last Friday of April? It's crazy that this month has flown by so quickly, but we're happy that it's been jammed with lots of fun things! As usual, we're linking up with DarciNatashaApril, and Christina to share our 5 favorites from the week, and we're also excited to join Amanda's second linkup! 

ONE | Celebrity sightings

Living in NYC, it's not uncommon to spot a celebrity every now and then. I've walked right next to Alec Baldwin filming in front of my local movie theater, sat at a bar only two stools down from Kevin Bacon, and saw Tony Danza zoom past me on the street in his rollerblades. For some reason, this past week was particularly star-studded...

* I bumped into Matt Damon wearing a tuxedo at the opening night of a Broadway show while I walked home from work.

* I attended the same performance of a different Broadway show as Perez Hilton, who stood next to me on the sidewalk as we waited for the theater to open (and he carried a bag of take-out food inside...I hope his seatmates didn't mind!).

* Rod Stewart strolled around my corner on Easter Sunday (and yes, his famous hair was in full effect).

* This next one is not quite a celebrity (yet), but are any of you gals fans of Lifetime's fabulous guilty pleasure, Devious Maids? I attended a play reading and sat next to the lovely actress who plays soapy villainess Evelyn Powell (and I somehow managed to restrain myself from gushing all over her about how excited I was for season 2, which just started on Sunday!).

* I saved the best for last...
While I somehow managed to play it cool with all of my other encounters, I shamelessly abandoned my too-cool-to-care-about-celebrities persona and approached the small crowd circling Nick in the middle of Times Square and snapped this pic...soooo worth it.

TWO | Sunday in the park

After the dreary winter we had this year (yup, still not over complaining about it!), we jumped at the chance to spend some time outdoors on this beautiful afternoon. Immediately following the latest meeting of the Brunch Club, my friends and I sauntered over to Washington Square Park with a few contraband bottles of wine (shhh) and spent some leisurely time together listening to a strolling jazz quartet and basking in the sunshine. This little taste of a true spring day made me even more excited for more warm weather outdoor activities!

THREE | Our 1-year Michael Buble anniversary

If you caught yesterday's post, then you know that M and I have been celebrating the 1-year anniversary of the surreal and magical day when we met our dream guy, Michael Buble! This amazing encounter was one of the best things that ever happened to us, so of course we love any opportunity to relive that perfect day!

FOUR | Apartment accessories

Good news - I received my lease renewal and will be staying in my wonderful apartment for at least one more year! Now that I know for sure that I'll be here for awhile longer, I decided it was time to freshen up my decor a bit so I snapped up these Nate Berkus pillows (from Target, naturally). I've mentioned my obsession with his Target line before, so of course I couldn't resist adding a little more Nate to my life!

I wish I could slap some of this amazing glitter paper up on the walls, but my landlord probably wouldn't take too kindly to that...

Image via The Paris Apartment

But if I can't have full glitter walls, at least I can sprinkle dashes of it around, like with this pretty wall sign:

Image via Etsy

FIVE | Engagement party

I had an absolutely fantastic time celebrating a sweet friend's engagement at the yummy Locanda Verde this past weekend (the meatballs were insanely delicious!). I went with my fab friend Joey - you'll have to excuse the poor quality of this iPhone pic (and you may not recognize him without his mouse ears haha). 

And here's a little blog sneak peek for you...see that little hint of a dress in the pic above? Stay tuned for an upcoming post about how it was my most successful Rent the Runway order of all time, and how you can make the most of your RTR experience!


Thursday, April 24, 2014

TBT - Our lunch date with Michael Bublé!

Hey Gals!  Today is a very, very special day - it's the one year anniversary of the day that The Gals met (and lunched with) our celebrity dreamboat, Michael Bublé!

We promise we'll eventually share the fullll story, but for today, we are just excited to bask in our happy memories of that perfect day last year!  We've been through a lot as BFF's but this definitely lives on (and will continue to live on!) as a top 5 moment for us Gals.  And he was every bit as dreamy and charming as we'd imagined him to be, making the day absolutely perfect.  If you aren't that familiar with Mr. Bublé and his perfect voice, be sure to check out our ultimate Bublé playlist and be prepared to get swept away by his magic.

Call us Bublé!  It's been waaaayyy too long!

It was definitely a once in a lifetime, pinch me, too good to be true moment, so excuse us while we relive it in our memories and totally freak out all over again!

- The Gals

Monday, April 21, 2014

DIY Mini Wine Bottle Favors

Just like you can't have cheese without wine (well, I suppose you technically could skip the wine, but why would you want to?), M and I can't host a gathering without creating a favor. My recent birthday dinner at The Cellar at Beecher's Handmade Cheese provided the perfect opportunity to create some custom mini wine bottle favors. Even though M couldn't join us at the dinner, she was certainly there in spirit as she designed the pretty printables for the labels!

To begin, I grabbed some four-packs of wine and sent M the bottle measurements and the text that I wanted to include. In keeping with the cheesy theme, I decided to use a quote on the label:

I am thankful for many things, but mostly for good wine and my exquisite taste in friends.

Pretty cheesy (and sappy), but it's true! I also told M to have fun with the fonts (especially the font for the word "cheesy") and she certainly did not disappoint! Once I received the file from M, I cut the labels down to size with my paper cutter.

I wrapped each bottle in a white shipping label so that none of the text from the actual label would peek through our custom one. In hindsight, this step can probably be skipped if you decide to use a darker paper for the custom labels.

Once the shipping labels were affixed, I glued the quote label around each bottle.

Next, it was time to work on the round neck tags. To fully embrace the theme, we decided to add a comical wedge of cheese along with the same title fonts that were used on the bottle labels. I just so happened to find a shiny metallic purple scrap paper in my craft bin that worked perfectly as the tag backing.

I punched a hole in each of the round tags and loosely draped them with ribbon around the necks of the bottles. The cream/gold ribbon denoted Sauvignon Blanc, and the shiny purple ribbon was used on the Pinot Grigio bottles.

I was so delighted with how cute these bottles looked, especially since they coordinated so well with the dinner's theme. My friends were happy to have a little extra wine to take home, and I was glad to give them a small token of my appreciation for their generosity in taking me out to such a special birthday dinner.

We just couldn't have a cheesy dinner without some people literally dressing up in mouse accessories...my friends crack me up!

These favors would work well at so many different celebrations...bridal showers, rehearsal dinners, graduations...the possibilities are endless!

What type of event would you make these favors for?


Linking up with Meg, Leeann, Kimberlee, Molly, and Carly!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter from your Gals at The Sequin Notebook! We'll be spending this beautiful Sunday with our loved ones - M is celebrating Baby M's very first Easter surrounded by family in New Jersey, while B's parents are meeting B and her brother for brunch in NYC. No matter what you do today, we hope you get to enjoy a shining sun, time with close friends and family, and perhaps some treats that the Easter Bunny left behind!

(If you still need some last minute decor, don't forget to make some of M's free springtime Peeps printables!)

Happy Easter from M, B, and our springtime animal Gals!
The Gals

Friday, April 18, 2014

Five on Friday {April 18, 2014}

Happy Friday Gals!  The M household has been plagued with sickness this week, so I am super ready for the weekend, and hopefully a swift recovery! I hope you all have had a better week than me, and have lots of fab things planned for the weekend! We're linking up with Darci, Natasha, April, and Christina for our 5 favorites of the week!

1. Bobbi Brown Glasses

Have you heard that beloved makeup guru Bobbi Brown now has an eyeglass line?!  I'm in love, but even more obsessed with the guide she made to choosing the right glasses for your face.  I always struggle with finding just the right pair, so this is perfect for me.  I especially love that she takes into account color - something I know I often overlook!  Check out her guide here.

2. Non-candy Easter Basket Ideas

This will be Baby M's first Easter and while I'm super excited for him to receive a basket full of fun goodies, he's still too young to have any candy, which is an Easter basket staple.  So this left me trying to think of other creative things to tuck into his basket while not going overboard.  I hit up my local Target, and found so many non-candy things, that his basket will be full to the brim with cute little trinkets and treats.  Some of my favorite finds above include: beach toys, a cute paci holder, a big boy cup (since he's been obsessed with drinking water from my cup anytime I have one!), and of course no basket would be complete without a big stuffed bunny!

3. Baby M's First Art Project

Baby M goes to a great local daycare two days a week, and my heart nearly burst when they sent me this picture of him working on his very first art project!  I was so proud to see my little guy following in Mommy's crafting footsteps, and was very impressed with the final project - of course he had lots of help from his teacher, but this mama was still plenty proud!  And knowing that he's having such a fun day while I'm at work has definitely helped to make the transition away from him a bit easier.

4. Kate Spade Idiom Bangles

I've always been a big fan of Kate Spade's jewelry line, and after I spotted these cuties in her Mother's Day Shop (OMG- I'm approaching my first mother's day!), it was love at first sight.  I love the cheeky little sayings, and you can never have enough bangles, as B pointed out last week!  They are still a little too pricey, but our gal Kate Spade loves herself a sale, so I'll be stalking these for the next couple weeks for when they aren't so steep!  I think the bright blue is my fave, though I love them all!

5. Happy Easter!

And last, but not least, Happy Easter to all who celebrate!  We have a jammed packed Easter Sunday planned, hitting up both sides of the family.  I'm looking forward to a great day with lots of yummy food and quality time with Baby M and our families.  And I especially can't wait to bring a bunch of Easter treats adorned with our TSN designed printables!  I hope all you gals have a fabulous day planned!

And we're also excited to be linking up with Meet at the Barre!

- M

Monday, April 14, 2014

Springtime Peeps Printables {Free Download}

Hey Gals!  Easter is right around the corner and with it comes Peeps!  Whether you love 'em or hate 'em, you can't deny their adorableness.  I happen to be in the love camp, and after indulging in one too many this weekend, I was inspired to craft up a set of Peep Printables!  These would be the perfect adornment for your Easter baskets and candy good bags, but personally I plan to jazz up my Easter cocktails and wine glasses!  So download a set for yourself, and let us know what you plan on adding these little pastel cuties to!

Happy crafting Gals!

- M

Friday, April 11, 2014

Five on Friday {April 11, 2014}

Happy Friday, Gals! We're SO ready for the weekend and hope you are too! To kick things off in our usual sequiney fashion, we're linking up with DarciNatashaApril, and Christina to bring you five favorites from our week.


I've been on the hunt for my perfect spring nail color and I've finally found it - Essie's Mint Candy Apple! I recently went for a relaxing mani/pedi with a good friend and fell in love with this pretty pastel right away. This will be used in heavy rotation now that warmer weather is finally upon us!


In my very first Five on Friday post (wow, time flies!), I mentioned that I choreograph an annual high school musical and that we had just started rehearsals for Seussical. The show was produced this past weekend and I was so proud of the cast and crew for what a fun performance it turned out to be! I had such a great experience working on these dances and I'm so happy to have this fabulous creative outlet that allows me to stay involved with the performing arts.


Is anyone else out there in blogland watching this hilarious show? If you're not, set a date with HBO OnDemand this weekend and check it out! Julia Louis-Dreyfus cracked me up as everyone's favorite bad dancer, Elaine Benes, but I haven't followed any of her post-Seinfeld projects until Veep. Her salty portrayal of an ambitious and foul-mouthed Vice President always makes me laugh since you never know what will come out of her mouth next! Season Three just started this past Sunday so there is plenty of time to catch up with her campaign shenanigans.

Bangles available at Forever 21

I recently visited my parents and had to have a classic suburban mall shopping spree with my mom - you guys, there are so many adorable spring accessories at Forever 21 right now! I picked up the bangle set above, plus...about 15 other items (seriously, it was a big jewelry day) but it all came out to only $55 so it was basically a steal. Hurry on over to your local store to pick up some trendy pieces to brighten up your spring wardrobe without breaking the bank!


This quote has been floating around on Pinterest quite a bit lately - since it's basically my personal Friday mantra, I jazzed it up with some spring colors and my favorite font (Budmo!) to remind myself how to start my weekend off on the right foot.

Wishing all of you lots of smiles and champagne today!


Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Sequiney Pinspiration: Spring is in the Air

Hey Gals!  Spring has finally sprung and with it comes a little Sequiney Pinspiration to get you excited for the season!  We are so ready for some warm weather, pretty pastels, and refreshing patio cocktails, so we bring you a couple lovelies to get you in the springtime mood and if it only leaves you wanting more - hop over to our Pinterest page and indulge in some more sequiney goodness!

Spring Reveries // Spring Lips

- M

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Artichoke & Asparagus Pasta Salad

True confession: I hate cooking. 

I'm bad at it, it takes up a lot of time, and sometimes it winds up being more expensive to buy all of the ingredients I need for a recipe than just ordering some take-out. On the rare occasions that I attempt to do battle with my testy oven, I try to make something that will stay fresh and appeal to me throughout the week (I live alone, so there are frequently leftovers). 

That's why I adore whipping up a big batch of this artichoke and asparagus pasta salad - it's a fantastic side dish at dinner, a great group item at a picnic or potluck barbecue, and it can easily be taken to the office for lunch the next day. Best of all, it's as simple as boiling water and doing some minimal veggie chopping (really!), so if I can execute it, there is no way that you'll mess it up. 

Let's get started.

You will need:

* 1 1/2 cups whole wheat pasta of your choice (I used rotini)
* 1 can of artichoke hearts (chopped)
* 1/2 lb. asparagus spears (cut into 1-inch pieces)
* 1/2 cup roasted red peppers (chopped)
* 1/4 cup black olives (sliced)
* 1/4 cup red onion (chopped)
* 1 garlic clove (minced)
* 2 oz. prosciutto (chopped)
* 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
* 2 tablespoons canola oil
* 2 tablespoons fresh basil (chopped)
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* 1/4 teaspoon pepper

1) Cook the pasta according to the package directions, and add the asparagus two minutes before it is completed. Immediately drain and run under cold water until cool.

2) Combine artichokes, red peppers, olives, red onion, and prosciutto in a large serving bowl. 

3) Add the pasta/asparagus mixture to the bowl.

4) In a separate, smaller bowl, mix the balsamic vinegar, canola oil, garlic, salt, pepper, and basil.

5) Pour the dressing over the pasta and toss gently to coat it.

6) Serve the pasta immediately, or cover it with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 8 hours (I try to refrigerate it for at least a few hours to let the flavors blend together).

Now that I just started my new job, it's been a lifesaver to have a big batch of this pasta salad ready in the fridge for easy on-the-go lunches. What's your go-to simple dish?


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